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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: Prevention of Crimes Against Humanity Should Be High Priority of International Community

16.11.2012

No 408-E

At a session of the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague today, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet confirmed the major role played by the ICC in punishing those responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The creation of the International Criminal Court is one of the most important steps taken by the international community. “It is essential to fight against impunity and brutal crimes against humanity. We cannot allow the court’s impartiality and effective functioning to be affected by the complicated financial situation,” Paet added.

Foreign Minister Paet stated that the influence of the ICC extends beyond the courtroom, as is demonstrated by the guilty verdict in the case of warlord Thomas Lubanga of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “The guilty verdict is a warning to all warlords and military leaders that may consider recruiting children to use on the battlefield,” Paet stated. “Implementing the principles of compensation for damages for the first time should also send an encouraging message to those that have suffered and are awaiting justice,” he added.

Currently investigations have been started on seven events and 16 cases are being discussed in the ICC.

Foreign Minister Paet stated that the ratification of the Rome Statue has become a sign of dedication to international justice and the fight against impunity. “There are 121 countries, nearly two-thirds of the membership of the UN, that have ratified the agreement. However, the number of countries that have joined the statue should grow greater, until the ICC has achieved global jurisdiction,” he added. According to Paet, Estonia will soon ratify the changes made to the Rome Statute in Kampala. The foreign minister called on other countries to ratify them as well.

Foreign Minister Paet said that the International Criminal Court needs strong political co-operation and support. “The court can only fulfil its goals if the participating countries co-operate and do their part. It would also be useful for the UN Security Council to have a more effective way of following up on cases that are directed to the International Criminal Court,” he added.

The 11th session of the Assembly of States Parties is taking place in The Hague from 14-22 November and is being led by the President of the Assembly of States Parties, Estonian diplomat Tiina Intelmann.

The assembly is the most important meeting of the ICC member states, during which an assistant prosecutor will be chosen and many important issues will be discussed, for example next year's budget and countries' co-operation with the court.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/estonian-foreign-ministry

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